Despite Dublin City councillors highlighting cyclists on footpaths as an issue for many residents, the city is planning to mix cyclists and pedestrians at a busy roundabout on the South Circular Road.
The councillors say they are often contacted by residents — especially older ones — about the issue.
Councillors often complain at council meetings that the city does not do enough to stop cyclists from using footpaths. In response, officials claim the issue is purely an enforcement problem which is out of their hands, but Dublin City Council council is increasingly using designs which mix cyclists and pedestrians.
The latest design is on the South Circular Road and is part of the Rialto Area Improvement Scheme, which is already under construction.
Pensioners visiting the local post office will swap the old roundabout with no pedestrian crossings for the new roundabout where they have to watch out for cyclists legally on the footpath outside shops.
The Draft Dublin City Public Realm Strategy promises to prioritise pedestrian, cyclists and public transport within the canals. But cyclists who follow the directions of city council to use the footpath in Rialto will likely find them self losing priority at every point and cyclists are requested to yield at the pedestrian / cyclist crossing points when motorists are not.
On the subject of mixing cyclists and pedestrians, the National Cycle Manual says: “Shared facilities are disliked by both pedestrians and cyclists and result in reduced Quality of Service for both modes. With the exception of purpose-designed shared streets, shared facilities should be avoided in urban areas as far as possible”
The project also includes about 160 meters of cycle lanes in both direction in South Circular Road, however the buffer between the cycle lane and parking on the side of the road is smaller than the minimum in the National Cycle Manual and half the size of the recommended 1 meter buffer.
Some cyclists will choose to not follow the council’s guidance to use the footpath or cycle lanes — as they are legally allowed to — and many others will question why are cyclists being encouraged onto footpaths when there are plans to soon fine people for cycling on footpaths.
County wide, over 60% of Dublin politicians surveyed earlier this year said that shared use footpaths were not an inviting place for old or blind people, while 50% said that the design sends mixed messages to cyclists who are usually told not to cycle on footpaths.